Bennetts claims first brand-owned social network

Bennett’s, the specialist motorbike insurance firm, is to launch what it claims is the first own-branded social network, in a bid to broaden its appeal among the biking community beyond insurance.

bennetts

The site, called Bike Social, aims to present all aspects of a biker’s lifestyle in one area to become the “ultimate biker website” and a hub for the 1.1 million strong biking community in the UK.

It includes functions similar to Facebook, such as user profiles, chat, events, groups, photos, news updates and bike specific features such as route mapping so that bikers can share their own favourite routes and directions with others.

Hannah Squirrell, associate director of Bennetts, says: “We want to become a hub for bikers. Up to now we’ve been an insurance brand, now we want to be everything biking.”

The brand, which is the only specialist motorbike insurer and holds a 20% share of the bike market, positions itself as a premium insurance provider and vows to never discount its products despite being in a highly price competitive market. Instead, its strategy is to add value for its customers and the biking community through initiatives such as Bike Social.

Bennetts hopes that the site will incrementally increase its customer numbers. It is also a way to open up potential opportunities for new revenue streams and “non-intrusive” cross selling.

It also aims to help small bike clubs develop a web presence by setting up groups to share details of local events, private and public meets. Manufacturing brands, such as Yamaha, and professional riders, will also be encouraged to set up profiles to interact with the biking community.

The site’s content will be populated by users, but Bennetts will host exclusive content from racing events and interviews with the riders it sponsors such as double superbike world champion James Toseland.

The site is set to go live later this month. Bennetts also plans to introduce an iPhone app with advanced functions, later this year.

Separately Bennetts is evolving its brand logo and will role the new identify out across all brand communications.

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